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General Archive > The GoodReads Jane Eyre Challenge

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message 1: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Has everyone seen This new reading challenge from Good Reads? It's not specific to this group, but I thought that since it was a Chunkster and was also a fun GoodReads Challenge I would make a thread!

I'm signed up, anyone else going to join?


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda I'll have to give this challenge a miss. Seen as I've never read Jane Eyre before and there is a new film adaptation coming out this year, I was planning to read it over the summer...I've committed into too much right now and the film isn't out in the UK until 9th September!


message 3: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) I've actually been considering doing it--it would be nmy 3rd or 4th time reading the novel, but my first time since reaching adulthood.

Doesn't the movie come out really soon in the U.S. though?


message 4: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I'm thinking about it, I last read it in 2002 so I wouldn't mind rereading it at this point.


message 5: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) I joined:). It's funny I never viewed it as a chunkster before...


message 6: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Loretta wrote: "Doesn't the movie come out really soon in the U.S. though?"

Yes, you get to watch it in March, you lucky things!

It's not uncommon for there to be a few weeks delay between the US and the UK release of a film sometimes. Apparently the BBFC's classification process takes a couple of weeks to go through for some reason and there are probably logistics issues too, but a six month delay is really weird.


message 7: by Loretta (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) Amanda, I know I get really annoyed when Doctor Who takes 3 months or so to start airing on BBC America, LOL. They seem to finally be shortening the gap, though.


message 8: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Amanda wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Doesn't the movie come out really soon in the U.S. though?"

Yes, you get to watch it in March, you lucky things!

It's not uncommon for there to be a few weeks delay between ..."


Just next month? Wow, I better start reading, lol


Lyn (Readinghearts) (lsmeadows) I entered, too, Kristi and will be trying to re-read it and see the movie. Thanks for posting this.


message 10: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Loretta wrote: "Amanda, I know I get really annoyed when Doctor Who takes 3 months or so to start airing on BBC America, LOL. They seem to finally be shortening the gap, though."

The new ones with Matt Smith? So you havn't seen the Christmas special yet? That is bizarre.


message 11: by Loretta (last edited Feb 21, 2011 06:46AM) (new)

Loretta (lorettalucia) @ Amanda: No, the Christmas special did actually air on Christmas day this year, but this was the first time that happened.

During the Eccleston and Tennant years, each season would routinely only begin airing in the U.S. after it had finished airing in the U.K., anbd the Christmas special would get shown sometime in early January. I think we even had to wait close to 6 months or something for one of the Tennant movies that made up his last season.

This past season, Smith's first, I think it aired on something like a 4-6 week delay, which wasn't so bad, so hopefully they're improving.

Edit: Oh, and if you watch Torchwood, Children of Earth aired just a week or two after it had aired in the U.K. as well. Though now that's becoming a U.S. show on the Starz network from what I hear.


message 12: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) The movie will be out on March 11. If you go to the link there is a place to click to see the trailer.


message 13: by Kathy (new)

Kathy (bookgoddess1969) I really like Jane Eyre! I've read it twice now! But as much as I like it, I don't think I'm ready for a re-re-read yet. It sounds like a fun challenge, though.


message 14: by Kris (new)

Kris I just joined. I started the book yesterday and I am loving it!


message 15: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie blast! i forgot all about this, i'll start reading the book next week. i've read it before, but...that was in the 90s, so...here we are again! :D


message 16: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) I am reading it off and on, hoping for the Audiobook from the Library to come through for me. I love listening to classics!


message 17: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I bet I would love this as an audio book! I'm almost 50% done and so far I love it! I read it many years ago and sadly I did not remember much of it at all!


message 18: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Only 16 days left in this challenge...


message 19: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I'm doing well and I really enjoyed reading it this time around!


message 20: by Juliette (new)

Juliette I've recently finished the book, but passed on the challenge since I haven't seen an adult movie in the theater in three years.


message 21: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I finished the book yesterday and I really enjoyed it much more than the previous times I had read it.


message 22: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Andrea wrote: "I finished the book yesterday and I really enjoyed it much more than the previous times I had read it."

i finished last week, and totally agree, although it is still not my favorite


message 23: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) I'm listening to it, hopefully will finish this week or next...I'm glad you are all loving it so much! What is your favorite part??


message 24: by Andrea (new)

Andrea I really love the ending!


message 25: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 885 comments All that love for Jane. I think I commented earlier that I have generally found that women tend to prefer this book much more than men do.

I won't go into length as to my thoughts on the book, but I'll raise one point here that may not have been fully considered by all the readers.

This book is told entirely from Jane Eyre's perspective. We do not have a neutral or objective narrator. So we have, I think, to ask how accurate a reporter Jane was.

My view is: not very. Not very at all. We have, for example, only her version of the book throwing incident. As she writes she is an adult, certainly in her late 20s. How accurately do you think you remember events that happened when you were six or seven or whatever Jane was at the time? Do you think an outside observer who had watched the incident would see it as Jane did? She feels an outsider, but don't many children feel that way? Yet she makes it so central to her memory. I don't recall that she records even a single happy memory from her childhood, but I refuse to believe that any child growing up with a warm bed to sleep in and food to eat and books to read and cousins to play with who perhaps aren't always nice but by the same token are almost certainly not always nasty couldn't bring up a single happy memory except when she was alone.

And the red room -- what does that represent but exactly what child psychologists tell us is the best way to correct children -- the famous "time out"? She is not beaten, she is not whipped, she sent into time out. This is not brutal, cruel parenting, though she reports it as such.

And Lowick. When does she say anything good about it? To her, it was all terrible. Yet how terrible really could it have been objectively? She was, after all, an orphan. But Lowick obviously gave her a good education, indeed probably as good as many children educated by governesses in private homes got. She speaks fluent French. She is an acceptable, of not accomplished, piano player. She knows her reading, writing, and arithmetic. She was even trained in teaching skills. I consider that a pretty darn good education for the times. But she can't see that.

Ah well, I went on longer than I had intended. But the point is that we have to realize that this is in many ways Jane's attempt to justify her life. It is as much argument as history. I think it is fair to say that large swaths of it are demonstrably inaccurate, not to say even dishonest. With that in mind, we must, I think, approach the whole book with a profound skepticism as to whether it even comes close to accurately reflecting her life.


message 26: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie i have to agree entirely with everything you have said 'everyman'...which is why i always point jane readers to _the wide sargasso sea_...it doesn't make me like jane less, just gives some background to the part of the story that either jane doesn't know or leaves out. i could go on and on about jane...but, alas i am tired and she is tiring...


message 27: by Juliette (new)

Juliette While I agree with what Everyman says about Jane Austen (well, except that I do think that Jane appreciated the education she got), I think that's the very reason to like it. Isn't that the point of first person storytelling? To only get one side of the story and to infer the rest?

Also, if I were to choose the defining moment (and the people surrounding it) of my life and write about it, I'm sure I wouldn't get even 80% of it accurate, but it doesn't matter, it's how I remember it and how I felt about it at the time that changed me into the person I am today. If I did tell it straight, the reader might not appreciate the full magnitude of the event and why it had any impact on my life at all.

Which brings an interesting question, does the author have an obligation to the reader to be 100% accurate and honest?


message 28: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) If you do not understand Jane's perspective, then you are blessed. Jane grew up in places were she was not loved.

Both Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst disliked Jane and treated her terribly. (Mrs. Reed was selfish. She allowed her children to continuously bully Jane. Mr. Brocklehurst was a hypocrite -- intimidating, telling the girls that they were going to hell for their sins, starving them and giving them freezing living conditions while he and his family never lacked for anything.)

Helen Burns is the first person Jane meets who is kind to her. But Jane is amazed that although Helen is constantly mistreated, she remains graceful and calm in unwarranted punishment.

In chapter 8, Helen is talking to Jane, "If all the world hated you, and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends." Jane says "No; I know I should think well of myself; but that is not enough: if others don't love me I would rather die than to live--cannot bear to be solitary and hated, Helen."

And Helen says "Hush Jane! You think too much of the love of human beings . . . The sovereign hand that created your frame, and put life into it, has provided you with other resources than your feeble self, or than creatures feeble as you." Helen gives Jane her Christian perspective on how to live in an unjust world without a harden heart.

After Helen's death, Miss Temple becomes one who Jane can go to in times of trouble. Miss Temple tries to protect her as well as encourages her about her education. She was a positive female role model for Jane.

"The school became in time a truly useful and noble institution. I remain an inmate of it's walls for eight years: six as a pupil, and two as a teacher; in both capacities I bear my testimony to it's value and importance."

"I had the means of an excellent education in my reach; a fondness for some of my studies, and a desire to excel in all, together with a great delight in pleasing my teachers, especially such as I loved, urged me on: I availed myself fully of the advantages offered me."

"Miss Temple, through all my changes, had thus far continued superintendent of the seminary: as to her instruction I owed the best part of my acquirements; her friendship and society had been my continual solace; she had stood me in the stead of mother, governess, and, latterly, companion." (Three quotes above by Jane in Chapter 10.)


message 29: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie "Which brings an interesting question, does the author have an obligation to the reader to be 100% accurate and honest?"

I don't think so. I remember when that Oprah/A Million Little Pieces debaucle happened and everyone being upset...frankly, I didn't care. Even an autobiography can't be entirely truthful as it is a person's interpretation of events that happened 2" from his/her nose. Those events may look different to someone else farther away from the action.

I think it is an author's obligation to tell a story and explicitly or implicitly teach us about what it means to be alive and what it means to live.


message 30: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 885 comments Carol wrote: "Both Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst disliked Jane and treated her terribly. (Mrs. Reed was selfish. She allowed her children to continuously bully Jane. Mr. Brocklehurst was a hypocrite -- intimidating, telling the girls that they were going to hell for their sins, starving them and giving them freezing living conditions while he and his family never lacked for anything.)"

This is certainly how Jane felt about how she was treated. This is what she remembers about her early life. Whether or she was accurately representing things, though, is the question I am asking.

I think we have to keep in mind that in those years, religion was very central to English life, and the reality of hell was very real. To the deeply religious, the salvation of the soul was far more important than transient worldly comfort.

You can call Mr. Brockehurst a hypocrite, but we have to keep in mind that he has no obligation to use his money to support this orphan school. He could have kept all his money and lived even more comfortably. But the fact is that he supported this charity school (probably with no money from either the government or the church) at considerable cost apparently because he truly wanted to save the souls of these orphans who had no one else to care for them. In a way, I think he is every bit as noble as, if not more noble than, St. John, who bypassed all the desperate needs in his own country (consider Dickens's London!) to go off to do "good works" in a foreign land. In this, he reminds one, or at least reminds me, of Dickens's Mrs. Jellyby, who devotes herself to foreign charities and neglects her own family.

I would not expect a young girl to appreciate the very generous contributions which are made to support the institution which houses, feeds, clothes, and educates her and keeps her off the street and away from the crime and prostitution which otherwise she would be most likely to fall into. I don't expect a young girl to appreciate that there are people who think the saving of her soul is the highest good that they can do for her, far more important than warm beds and plentiful delicious meals all at his expense. But I think we have the obligation to be a bit more understanding and appreciative of Mr. Brocklehurst and his willingness to commit a considerable amount of his personal income to endow and support this institution.


message 31: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Everyman wrote: "Carol wrote: "Both Mrs. Reed and Mr. Brocklehurst disliked Jane and treated her terribly. (Mrs. Reed was selfish. She allowed her children to continuously bully Jane. Mr. Brocklehurst was a hypocri..."

i have to agree, yet again. anytime a novel is written in first person we have to take into account the narrator in terms of his/her reliability. jane presents brocklehurst as a tyrant of sorts, but does give us clues (that i don't really want to look up now, but know exist) that says that he didn't really dislike any of the children, but thought that he was doing what was right by God in keeping them starved and wanting. She directs us to his over-zealous piousness as reasons for doing what he did. she points out over-zealous piousness again in st. john.

mrs. reed, on the other hand...we learn why she hated jane so much...and, well, it wasn't really jane at all, but old family animosities...


message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) ”Everyman wrote: "This is certainly how Jane felt about how she was treated. This is what she remembers about her early life. Whether or she was accurately representing things, though, is the question I am asking."

In my opinion, a child who survives a traumatic experience, would be “accurate” in their depiction of it. In Jane Eyre, Bronte wrote about the terrible treatment Jane encountered at Lowood School which revealed actual events from her childhood at Clergy Daughters' School.

“In 1824 she attended the newly opened Clergy Daughters' School at Cowan Bridge. While there with her sisters Maria, Elizabeth and Emily they suffer the harsh regime, cold and poor food. In June 1825, Charlotte and her sisters were finally taken away from the school for good. Her two eldest sisters, Maria and Elizabeth died of consumption; the poor conditions while at the school were largely to blame. The experience of Cowan Bridge and the loss of her sisters had an affect on Charlotte.” (http://www.haworth-village.org.uk/bro...)


”Everyman wrote: “You can call Mr. Brockehurst a hypocrite, but we have to keep in mind that he has no obligation to use his money to support this orphan school. He could have kept all his money and lived even more comfortably."

He and his family did live much more comfortably than the girls. Did Mr. Brocklehurst use HIS money to support the school? After the typhus epidemic, it was discovered that Mr. Brocklehurst was using "school funds" for his own, personal purposes. (CH 10)

I see Mr. Brocklehurst as a self-righteous man. He likes to preach Christian morals but is cruel in his treatment of his students. He starves them, provides little heating (frozen water is wash bowls), meager clothing (unsuitable to the weather conditions & also thread-bare) and verbally abuses them. (CH 7) Meanwhile he and his family are dressed in warm, expensive clothing (his daughter in silk), and they eat very well.


Chapter 10 --
“When the typhus fever had fulfilled its mission of devastation at Lowood, it gradually disappeared from thence; but not till its virulence and the number of its victims had drawn public attention on the school. Inquiry was made into the origin of the scourge, and by degrees various facts came out which excited public indignation in a high degree. The unhealthy nature of the site; the quantity and quality of the children's food; the brackish, fetid water used in its preparation; the pupils' wretched clothing and accommodations--all these things were discovered, and the discovery produced a result mortifying to Mr. Brocklehurst, but beneficial to the institution.

Several wealthy and benevolent individuals in the county subscribed largely for the erection of a more convenient building in a better situation; new regulations were made; improvements in diet and clothing introduced; the funds of the school were intrusted to the management of a committee. Mr. Brocklehurst, who, from his wealth and family connections, could not be overlooked, still retained the post of treasurer; but he was aided in the discharge of his duties by gentlemen of rather more enlarged and sympathising minds: his office of inspector, too, was shared by those who knew how to combine reason with strictness, comfort with economy, compassion with uprightness."


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